Saturday, September 30, 2006

Turning to the water in the dying days of September. Local diver Adam Taylor has discovered YouTube and posted this great video of plumnose anemones eating a lion's mane jellyfish. These jellies are the nasty red ones on our coast, and their sting is very painful. Aine got one last year. At this time of year they mature and die so they are all over the beaches at the moment. Yay anemones for helping with the cleanup.

And a couple of days ago, tipped off by David Smith, I took a bunch of off-island visitors down to Tunstall Bay to see the sunset and the bio-luminescence in the water. It was stunning. Looked like we had flashlights trapped to our feet as we walked in the relatively warm water.

I love it that Bowen is a tree-covered rock in a sea of light.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The drought has passed. It broke last week as the weather turned colder and wetter and less stable. The Gulf of Alaska high has deteriorated and we are living now beneath a grey blanket with the odd splash of sunshine. Yesterday reminded us of summer, today reminds us of the fall.

This season needs a name, this interregnum between the drought and the flood, when the sky seesaws between its offerings. It will be like this until the first big rain that leaves snow on the mountains, which will happen in a month or so. That is when fall and winter sets in and the salmon return.

So perhaps now, with the rains filling the creeks and sending freshets into the sea for the salmon to taste on their way home, we could call this "salmon-calling season" followed by "salmon return" and then, truly, winter.

Here is a Bowen moment of the first rain of salmon-calling season. (mp3)

Saturday, September 9, 2006

A great tune from oldseed a Winnipeg songwriter who tours around constantly. He'll be on Bowen Island on the equinox, September 22, performing a house concert at Julie Vik's house. If you want to go, contact Julie at 2345 and see what's up. I think I'll head over there after our little Snug session wraps up.

Dig the crazy harmonies at the end of this song...amazing passion there.

mp3: Oldseed - If you've got nothing but light, let it shine

Friday, September 8, 2006

After long last, I have finally made some jellies from local salal and Oregon grapes. The jelly turned out pretty well.

Here is the recipe I used:

Salal or Oregon Grape Jelly

1 L (4 cups) juice of Oregon grapes or salal berries
1 L (4 cups) sugar
1 box Certo

Prepare wild berry juice by barely covering cleaned, washed berries with water in a saucepan, heating until they come to a boil, simmering, then straining the juice. About 1 L (4 cups) of berries will yield about 500 ml (2 cups) of juice. Sterilize jelly jars, spoons and Pyrex measuring cup to pour boiled jelly into jars. Place new canning jar lids in saucepan with water, bring to a boil and boil for 5-10 minutes. Mix sugar and certo crystals with berry juice in large stainless steel pot, bring to a boil, boil hard for one minute, then pour into sterilized jars using sterilized Pyrex cup. Fix lids in place, screw on ring caps and let sit until cool and until the lids have sealed.

And we made a podcast of this cooking episode, which you can find here (.mp3). Bon appetit!

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

There is a tradition on the GulfIslands that the last ferries to leave on Labour Day are accompanied by a terrifically robust send off by Islanders. It is the time when the mainlanders and summer people ae sent home with a cheerful wave,and a sigh of relief.

Summer is such a busy time on these islands that the Labour Day weekend is a relief to everyone. And to capture the spirit of the fact that we have our island backm, but only the winter to look forward to, I penned a song which we have been singing around Bowen for a couple of years. Every year, some of us sing it to the ferries as they leave, and this year, a small and hardy band of three of us met to sing off the 3:00 ferry. You can hear an mp3 of this particular performance here.

And here are the lyrics for "Our Island's OUrs Again" aka "Farewell to all you Mainlanders", for your amusement:

Our island’s ours again
(Tune of “Rolling Down to Old Maui”)

On the first of May of every year
They come by boat and plane
The ferry starts to overload
And the traffic is a pain
All summer long down in the Cove
The shop doors open wide
The rest of us head for the hills
And find some place to hide

Chorus: Farewell to all you mainlanders
And welcome to the rain
So raise a cheer, the autumn’s here
Our island’s ours again!

Their money spent, the continent
Will accept them in its fold
The beaches are available
Though the water’s freezing cold
Once more we can find our favourite seats
On a barstool down at Docs
And the women who run VONIGO
Can replenish all their stock


Now the nights are cool, the air is brisk
Mount Gardner wears a shroud
The wind has swung southeast again
And the Sound is full of cloud
For the next eight months we’ll hide away
And slowly go insane
But what care we, we’re finally free
Our island’s ours again!


The Squamish winds will blow for days
And the breeze will chill our bones
But the firewood’s stacked and the pantry’s packed
And we’ve battened down our homes
We’re done with yard work, cleaned the eaves
And there’s nothing left to stain
Let winter send its best at us
Our island’s ours again!


Friday, September 1, 2006

The Labou Day weekend is upon us, and the weather is supposed to be positively the hottest yet, so it's all good. WE went swimming today at Hood Point in cold water. Lots of little ochre seas stars around, On the rocks the babies were scouring the barnacle beds for mussles and there were numerous skeletons on the beach of small ones.

The air is changing now, and there is an inversion tonight. Cool air has slid down the mountains so that it's quite chilly in the Cove where we were playing music at The Snug but up here at home, 275 fett above sea level, it's a warm night. TH elonger nights are leaving more cool air and water, and the cycle of declining temperatures is in full swing.

Crickets are chirping. Fall is in the air.